Sophie Lawson5 Minute Reading
AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Ahead of Wednesday’s second Women’s World Cup group stage match as Canada take on the Republic of Ireland, Christine Sinclair stands on the brink of history: a goal would make her the first man or woman to score in six World Cups.
It’s no secret that this will be his last World Cup; Sinclair (or “Sinc”) had been there and done it all before, both in the NWSL and with Canada on the international stage. He knows what it’s like to spend time with the US; he also knows what it’s like to reach the World Cup and be knocked out after just three group stage games. He has tasted both success and heartbreak in his professional life, such as two summers ago when Canada defied the odds to win an Olympic gold medal after a penalty shootout against Sweden.
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Even though Sinc the person (quiet, stays away from the spotlight) has always kept his distance from the player Sinc (bombastic, impactful, dynamic), it’s hard to talk about his consistency on the court without mentioning how much he hates the spotlight. It’s true, as the top scorer in international football — his 190 goals surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo’s 123 in the men’s game, for example — Sinclair is the opposite of the megastar and mega-ego you’d expect from such on-pitch performances. What drives him is not fame or money, but team success; it was clear Canadian women’s soccer would not be where it is today without the more than two decades of service from the British Columbia native.
After making his senior debut as a 16-year-old in 2000, Sinclair would move from youth to senior level for Canada, setting a collegiate record while he was not representing his country. His consistent performances have earned him plenty of individual accolades, but unlike others who are hungry for goals, Sinclair has remained out of the public eye, as his natural decency played its part. Yet he continued in the same vein, moving his youth uniform across the collegiate level to the senior team and rarely looking wrong.
Promoted to captain in 2006 for Canada’s trip to the Gold Cup, Sinclair remained steadfast in his performances: he was the natural leader on that team and the natural choice for captain. Despite being only in his early 20s, Sinclair led from the front; dubbed “the face of football in Canada” by the New York Times after Canada’s historic bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics, Sinclair was in top form that summer, inspiring the Canucks as they struggled throughout the tournament. His six goals scored (leading all scorers) helped Canada to the bronze medal they deserved.
With his national team on the decline, Sinclair claimed Canada’s only goal in the group stage at their home World Cup in 2015, but the hosts ultimately fell short, losing to England in the quarter-finals. A renewed team at the Rio Olympics the following summer, Canada returned to bronze with Sinclair (three goals) playing a starring role once again.
Sinclair’s fifth World Cup, in 2019, made him the second player in history to score in five World Cups (after Brazil’s Marta) when he scored against the Netherlands en route to the last 16 against Sweden. Slowing with age, discussion of Sinclair setting the all-time goalscoring record – which was then held by Abby Wambach – continued through the years as the Canadian approached the record but struggled to break it.
Sinclair eventually leveled and broke Wambach’s record, at 36 years old, but his focus remained on the team. She helped Canada to a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 despite scoring just one goal and it will be a watershed moment for Canadian women’s soccer, with Sinclair – and several other veterans – using the win to speak to a lack of professional players. women’s league in Canada and driving change. Despite usually wanting to stay out of the way, the growing conflict with Canada Soccer is showing Sinclair uses both the platform and the voiceleading negotiations with his federation, again his motivation for the advancement of Canadian football.
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Sinclair could still make more history as the first man to score in six successive World Cups, after wasting a golden chance from the penalty spot against Nigeria in Canada’s opener. On the surface, her legacy would certainly revolve around those goals, but as she continues to strive to be better in Canada and asks for more from her federation, Sinclair’s legacy is all about what she has done for women’s soccer in Canada and what she has done. he does for his team-mates (both domestically and internationally). His legacy is that of a silent but deadly striker, an intelligent player who reads the pitch like his team-mates, a studious and hard-working footballer, and a player whose dedication has helped him remain a force on the pitch for more than two decades. .
Perhaps never fully giving her due, as she nears the end of her playing career, there is still a chance for more history and even, a golden farewell to Canada’s beloved daughter.
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